Opioids: Use, Misuse, and Abuse

Opioids: Use, Misuse, and Abuse

The use of opioids to help ease and treat situational or chronic pain has become increasingly controversial. This is mainly due to the prevalence of misuse and abuse of opioids that has taken our society by storm.

While opioids are not new to the market, they seem to be easier to get than ever before and can sometimes be overprescribed. According to Andrew Rosenblum,  Lisa A. Marsch, Herman Joseph, and Russell K. Portenoy, in their article titled, "Opioids and the Treatment of Chronic Pain: Controversies, Current Status, and Future Directions," "Concerns related to effectiveness, safety, and abuse liability have evolved over decades, sometimes driving a more restrictive perspective and sometimes leading to a greater willingness to endorse this treatment." While they still remain one of the most effective options for pain management, the role opioids can play in addiction has resulted in conflicting opinions about this treatment option.

When it comes to opioids and many other medications, you have people who use the drugs appropriately, those who misuse the drugs, and others who abuse them. It is important to understand how these terms are defined and where the line is drawn between each.

Opioid Use

The use of opioids refers to taking the medication as intended. This implies the correct dosage at the correct frequency for the correct duration. Anything outside of these parameters can be considered misuse.

Taking extra care to read and understand the instructions for the prescription is incredibly important when it comes to these medications. If something is unclear, it's important to ask your provider. Opioids are known as controlled substances for a reason. If not taken exactly as intended, there is the risk of developing an addiction even after one occasion of misuse.

Opioid Misuse

Misuse can be mild. Occasional misuse of medications can certainly occur. Skipping a dose by accident or even taking your next dose a little early or a little later by mistake can happen. Depending on the medication, this can have minimal effects or significant ones. This can be a one-time error, or it can be more frequent. Sometimes, misuse can quickly evolve from an honest mistake to a recurring habit.

Misuse refers to failing to take the medication exactly as prescribed. This could also include taking more than the recommended dose or even less than what is prescribed. Misuse could also refer to taking the medication for longer than needed or failing to take the medication for the length of time prescribed.

Taking medication not prescribed to you or allowing someone else to take your medication is also an example of misuse. Concerning opioids, this can be extremely dangerous. Strength and dosage are individualized for the intended patient to target a specific ailment. Anyone taking the medication other than how it's prescribed is misusing the drug.

Opioid Abuse

Abuse of opioids refers to taking the medication for reasons other than its intended use or in excess amounts. The key difference between misuse and abuse is the intent of the user. Misuse still involves taking the drug as a form of treatment, while abuse implies taking the drug to obtain a certain feeling.

Opioids are known to be highly addictive. In addition to reducing pain, they release endorphins and activate reward centers in the brain, producing a false sense of ease and well-being. This is the feeling most abusers are seeking.

Abuse often occurs after being prescribed the medication for a well-intended reason. The prescription ends, and perhaps the pain still exists. Sometimes, the desire to feel the effects of the drug influence seeking out more even after the pain has subsided.

Tips for Avoiding Misuse and Abuse

By following the prescription exactly and being aware of the risks and side effects, opioids can serve as an effective treatment for certain conditions. Some tips for avoiding misuse and abuse include:

  • Make a plan with your provider
  • Know the alternative options
  • Take the medication exactly as prescribed
  • Report any side effects or symptoms immediately
  • Do not share or sell your medication under any circumstances
  • Ensure proper and secure storage at all times
  • Properly dispose of any unused medication following FDA guidance

Opioid misuse and abuse is a huge problem in today's society, with incidents of overdose and opioid-related deaths continuing to increase. As described by Phillips JK, Ford MA, and Bonnie RJ in their book, Pain Management and the Opioid Epidemic: Balancing Societal and Individual Benefits and Risks of Prescription Opioid Use, "Current national trends indicate that each year more people die of overdoses—the majority of which involve opioid drugs—than died in the entirety of the Vietnam War, the Korean War, or any armed conflict since the end of World War II." These statistics are tragic. Understanding the risks of taking these medications and knowing what constitutes appropriate use, misuse, and abuse is critical. If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction, it's time to seek help.

The use of opioids is and will continue to be a controversial topic. With their known risks and addictive tendencies, it is understandable that this would be the case. We face an opioid crisis in today's society, with more and more people falling victim to the hold it can have on their lives. It is critical to take the medications as prescribed to ensure no misuse or abuse of the drug. Even with the best of intentions, it can be possible to form an addiction to these substances, which can escalate quickly. Enlightened Solutions offers a variety of treatment options for addiction, and conducts a full assessment upon intake to ensure the most individualized and best quality of care possible. Let us help you take back control of your life. If you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction, give Enlightened Solutions a call today at (833) 801-LIVE.


How is COVID related to Opioid Addiction

How is COVID related to Opioid Addiction?

How Has COVID Affected Opioid Addiction?

While the world is busy battling the COVID-19 pandemic, another silent killer is the opioid epidemic. Opioid was introduced to the market as a painkiller. Doctors were hopeful that there would be no addiction to it. Over the years, however, it is one of the most abused prescriptions drugs in America. The manufacture and sale of these drugs under wraps have led to an opioid crisis in the world. Many opioid addiction treatment centers like Enlightened Solutions have been started in a bid to tackle the crisis. There was a good number of people in recovery. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, things went from good to bad.

How COVID-19 Affected Opioid Addicts

At the onset of the pandemic, many opioid abuse treatment centers had to be closed to prevent the further spread of the virus. While it helped control the virus spread, it brought another issue - drug use was rising. Here are some of the reasons why there have been reports of increased drug use during this past year.

  • Self-isolation - self-isolation might be suitable for the prevention of COVID-19 spread. It is in no way helpful to an addict. Being alone in a house or room without any physical contact means one will have to get something to pass the time. For a recovering addict, it is easy for one to slip back into their old habits.
  • Lack of a home recovery program - in the initial stages of recovery, it is recommended that an addict stays at an opioid addiction treatment facility to be monitored. The withdrawal phase is the most complex stage, and even though opioids do not cause physical pain, they can get uncomfortable. Having someone monitor a patient as they go through detox for opioid addiction is vital to their recovery. Since there are restrictions in these facilities, many patients could not deal with the withdrawal symptoms. They often end up reusing the drug. There was also no detox for opioid addiction program rolled out for patients that could help when the patient is at home.
  • High-stress levels - the pandemic brought a myriad of stress factors that many people could not deal with. Most people have lost their jobs, been cut off from family, and do not have anything else to do. Many of the opioid users are casual laborers. There has been a reduction of work from casual workers worldwide. The entire thing was stressful to deal with, and as such, it is common for addicts to resort to their old ways. There is no one to monitor them and, slipping into serious addiction is almost paramount.

Impact of Opioids During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The one thing that can be noticed with the pandemic is an increased number of people overdosing on opioids. These overdoses are getting worse since many of the users are in self-isolation. The fact that Narcan drug is not easily available puts such a person's life at risk.

Medical institutions also noticed a drop in the number of patients they received for rehabilitation. Running an opioid abuse treatment center needs a lot of money, and when the money is not coming in, these rehabilitation centers might close down. The policies on rehabilitation centers had been tightened to reduce COVID-19 infection, but the government is looking into this. It will go a long way to ensure that any opioid addict can check into a facility like Enlightened Solutions to get the help they need.

What to Do If You Need Help

Times have changed, and things might not work the way they used to before the pandemic. Despite all this, there is hope for you. You can still get the help you need if you put thought into it. Reach out to any opioid addiction treatment facility like Enlightened Solutions and ask to speak to a professional. Most of the facilities have a professional on call at any time of the day or night. They will talk you through your addiction and figure out whether or not you need to check into the rehab. You might have to do the COVID-19 test before you go in.

You can get into detox for Opioid Addiction program, which allows you to flush the drugs out of your system before starting your journey to recovery. Self-detox is a hard thing to do, and often you end up so weak and tempted to go back to the drugs. Checking into the Enlightened Solutions will ensure that you have someone who will monitor you all the time. A team of doctors and nurses works around the clock to help you go through the program without significant difficulties. They also monitor and advise you on what you should do if there are any changes.

Enlightened Solutions Opioid Addiction Treatment

At Enlightened Solutions, we are dedicated to helping you walk into your healing and drug-free life. We have a team of professionals. They will help you go through the healing journey and deal with all the issues causing a relapse for you. You can contact us today and book an appointment. We have top-notch specialists to find a way through which you can get help. We have a simple admission process. You can check in online before physically coming into the facility.

Our treatment process follows the 12-step approach with added holistic treatment. We have art therapy, music therapy, and yoga to help with the healing process. We also look out for your biological, mental, and social well-being. We ensure that you can easily integrate back into the community. You can reach out to us today and get started on your recovery journey. We will walk with you on your opioid abuse treatment journey and ensure you get out of the program with the right tools to face the real world.